Puslapio vaizdai

brown, and her eyes had a thoughtful, absent look at times.

Dandelion, more chubby and cheery than ever, sat at her feet, with the sunshine making a golden glory of his yellow hair, as he tried his new boat in the tub of water his mother kept for the little sailor, or tugged away with his fat fingers at a big needle,

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which he was trying to pull through a bit of cloth intended for a sail.

The faithful little soul had not forgotten his father, but had come to the conclusion that the reason his boats never prospered was because they hadn't large enough sails; so he was intent on rigging a new boat lately given him, with a sail that could not fail to waft Ben safely home.

With his mouth puckered up, his downy eyebrows knit, and both hands pulling at the big needle, he did not mind the stopping of the wheel when Hetty fell into a reverie, thinking of the happy time when she and Ben should meet again. Sitting so, neither heard a step come softly over the sand; neither saw an eager, brown face peer in at the door; and neither knew, for a minute, that Ben was watching them, with a love and longing in his heart that made him tremble like a woman.

Dandelion saw him first; for, as he pulled the thread through with a triumphant jerk, the small sailmaker lost his balance, tumbled over, and lay staring up at the tall man, with blue eyes so wide open they looked as if they would never shut again. All of a sudden, he shouted, with a joyful shout, "Daddy's tummin'!" and, the next instant, vanished, ship and all, in the arms of the man who wore the rough jacket.

Over went the spinning wheel, as Hetty vanished likewise; and for a time there was nothing but sobbing and kissing, clinging, and thanking Heaven for its kindness to them. When they grew quieter, and Ben got into his old chair, with his wife on one knee and his boy on the other, he told them how he was wrecked in the gale, picked up by an outwardbound ship, and only able to get back after months of sickness and delay.

My boaty fetched him," said Dandelion, feeling that everything had turned out just as he expected.

"So it did, my precious. Your faith helped, I haven't a doubt," cried Hetty, hugging the curlyheaded prophet close, as she told Ben all that had happened.

Ben didn't say much, but a few great tears rolled down his rough, blue jacket, as he looked from the queer sail, with its two big stitches, to the little son whose love, he firmly believed, had kept him safe through many dangers, and brought him home at last.

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I love birds. They cheer us in our lonely hours, when from their bowers their songs come upon our ears and gladden our hearts.

Their melodies have often told me how happy they were, and how much one bird loved another. They are the poets of nature. Oh, little birds, I

have often wondered how many sorrows you have! Pain I know you have.

The shrill cries and plaintive notes I have often heard from you, have told me that your little breasts felt the pangs of anguish. The hurried flights which I have often watched, have said how anxious you were.

In our northern climes, when the leaves have withered, when the cold winds blow, when the snow covers the earth, I know that you suffer from hunger, and I feel sorry for you. When you come by the window, you seem to say-"Do feed me, for I am so hungry and so cold!"

I have crossed the seas, and hundreds of miles away from land, I have seen you in your forlorn flight, looking in vain for the way that might lead to a land where your poor little bodies and tired wings and tiny feet could find rest.

The storm and the winds had carried you away from the land where you were accustomed to rejoice and sing, and taken you above the ocean on which you looked with such dread, and which is always ready to engulf you. You were so tired that you had not even the strength to utter your cries.

How then I pitied you, for I thought of the days and the sleepless nights you had spent over the vast sea! How weary those little wings of yours were! How painful must have been each effort you made to support yourselves in the air! How sad must have

been your thoughts, for you could see nothing to guide you to that place you longed to reach!

When the eagle, the hawk, and the falcon soar high in the sky, I know that they are your enemies. When the snake glides from branch to branch in search of your nest, to destroy your offspring, I know that pain will reach your heart. When you and your mate are flying above the earth, perchance a heartless sportsman appears, with his gun to bring you down.

How have I seen you follow the unfortunate one in its downward flight! How painful to hear were your cries! How you tried to arrest the poor wounded one, and how touching the scene as you soared and soared above the body of the little victim who had fallen to the ground!

So plaintive were your cries that they ought to have disarmed the ruthless hand that separated you, so that he would say to himself -"I will nevermore kill a harmless little bird, for God has given them to us to cheer, to enliven the nature that surrounds us."

When night comes, and your mate does not return, how anxious and sad you seem to feel! Perhaps a cat or some wild animal has destroyed the life of your mate. How often I have heard you call for the missing one, and could detect despair in the tone of your voice!

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